All students deserve a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, harassment, and bullying on school property, a school bus and/or at a school function. Educators need training on a variety of topics, including how to identify bullying; and school employees’ duties concerning the reporting, investigation, and documenting of alleged incidents of harassment. We support increased investment in restorative justice practices as an effective alternative to punitive responses to wrongdoing. School-based restorative justice offers a more sustainable, equitable, and respectful alternative to dealing with misbehavior, from minor infractions to violence. It can also be used as a proactive strategy to create a culture of connectivity and care where all members of the school community can thrive.
Safe and Supportive Schools Bill
91,495 – that’s the number of suspensions in New York State for the 2015-2016 school year according to the New York State School Report Card (the most recent data available). That’s more than 500 suspensions per day. Even children in kindergarten have been faced with suspension for typical age-level behavior.
The Safe and Supportive Schools Bill is designed to decisively reduce suspensions in the hopes that instead of using suspension as the quick fix for wrongdoing, schools will become equipped to identify the root problem, and help students to overcome it, rather than limiting students’ education and later opportunities while ignoring the real problem. Suspensions don’t help the students learn or allow the teachers to teach.
Buffalo and Rochester Adopt Progressive Code of Conduct – Who’s Next?
The Buffalo community worked hard to implement a progressive Code of Conduct that reduces the overuse of harsh discipline practices, especially for non-violent incidents. Rochester soon followed and has been implementing their new Code of Conduct since 2016. Both de-emphasize suspensions and are committed to ending the school-to-prison pipeline.